The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving is being mentioned in NBA trade rumors again with the Phoenix Suns offering up an interesting package of players and a pick. For weeks now, Irving has been part of ongoing speculation due to the fact that he openly asked for the Cavs organization to trade him. While his personal preferences for landing spot in a deal involved four teams with playoff potential, the Phoenix Suns have emerged as one of the teams most capable of offering Cleveland the right mix of assets to make a trade happen. Here are the latest details on what the Suns are willing to offer the Cavaliers in exchange for their All-Star point guard.
According to Yahoo! Sports, on a recent episode of 1500 ESPN, Darren Wolfson indicated that Phoenix would be willing to give up their own point guard Eric Bledsoe along with big man Dragan Bender and a first-round pick to acquire Kyrie Irving. The pick would be the Miami Heat’s 2018 top-seven-protected first-round pick in the draft. While that may sound like an enticing trade package to most basketball fans in exchange for one guard, it’s being said that Cleveland still would want a deal to involve either Devin Booker or No. 4 NBA pick Josh Jackson. Phoenix is unwilling to part ways with either of those players who are believed to be cornerstones of their franchise for the future.
Making things particularly interesting is the fact that Eric Bledsoe recently worked out in Las Vegas with Cavs superstar LeBron James which led to rumors heating up that Bledsoe might join Cleveland. He led the Phoenix Suns in assists this past season with 6.3 per game, while also averaging 21.1 points per game and 4.8 rebounds. Bledsoe would provide yet another point guard to the Cavs’ roster which recently added NBA free agent Derrick Rose in the offseason.
Dragan Bender has yet to fully develop into the type of player he was expected to be, but that’s mostly due to the fact that he sat out almost half the season due to ankle surgery. He played just 13.3 minutes per game in 43 appearances last season and averaged a mere 3.4 points along with 2.4 rebounds. The 7-foot-1 power forward could still give the Cavs some size up front to help take some of the load off Tristan Thompson, but Bender would need to be healthy to do so. He made appearances during the NBA Summer League Las Vegas, indicating he should be good to go.
While the Phoenix Suns were not mentioned by Irving as part of his trade destinations, if he joined a team that features Josh Jackson, Devin Booker, and Marquese Criss, it could lead to a future playoff appearance. Still, the team would have a way to go to contend with some of the newly formed contenders out West. That includes the new look teams in Houston, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota, the latter of which Irving mentioned he wouldn’t mind playing for.
Irving also mentioned the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, and yes, the New York Knicks. In a recent report from the New York Times, it’s said that New York probably would not offer Cleveland a trade involving their big man Kristaps Porzingis. However, they could possibly offer Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, and their recently drafted point guard Frank Ntilikina in a deal. Of those players, Melo seems uninterested in the Cavs and prefers the Houston Rockets. Still, the Times‘ Harvey Araton contends that Irving has two years left until he’s a free agent and he may be wise to wait to see how the Knicks look then.
With all of that said, this particular drama has kept the NBA intriguing over the summertime when most players and teams are resting, recharging, and preparing for the next season. It’s only going to get more interesting the closer the season gets if Irving is still a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ roster.
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